Council says Council Tax will rise unless government provides more social care funding


Councillor Callum Miller: “The numbers simply do not add up here in Oxfordshire or elsewhere in the country”

Council Taxes will have to rise to meet social care and special educational needs costs unless the government steps in now and provides extra funding: that’s the warning that has been issued by the County Council which says unless there is an urgent national investment local taxpayers will have to pick up the bill to address predicted funding shortfalls in coming years.

Ahead of the Government’s Autumn budget announcements the leader of Oxfordshire County Council, Councillor Liz Leffman, has sent letters to Prime Minister Boris Johnson outlining the Council’s concerns.

The number of children with special educational needs, and their complexity of need, continues to grow, with demand far outstripping budgets. Meanwhile the Council has concerns that the recently announced Government funding and policy proposals relating to adult social care do not address the immediate and long-term issues and may be unworkable due to these ongoing pressures.

In addition, in children’s social care local government is seeing a rise in the complexity and costs of supporting vulnerable children and families.

Councillor Callum Miller, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Finance, said: “Adult social care is facing an immediate crisis. The numbers simply do not add up here in Oxfordshire or elsewhere in the country. We welcome the start that has been made to address the challenges in Adult Social Care but none of the recent announcements address today’s funding pressures – and, in some cases, they increase them.”

“In September the Government said that current ‘demographic and cost pressures will be met through Council Tax, social care precept, and long-term efficiencies’. In Oxfordshire this equates to £9m to meet demographic pressures and potentially a further £6m to meet anticipated inflationary pressures. Unless there is further funding in the Spending Review, we will have to follow the government’s instruction and increase further the charges to our residents through council tax or social care precept. The only alternative would be to cut the adult social care budgets in real terms, with a direct impact on the care we can afford to provide.

“Reform is urgently needed on a national basis to provide adequate special educational needs funding. Demand for funding is unsustainable. In Oxfordshire we estimate that our county requires £13.8 million extra in funding to maintain current provision level.“

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